Wasabi Ventures Stables acquired Lap of Luxury in the fall of 2019 when she was a foal along with her mare, Littlemissperfect, from Housatonic Bloodstock. As a yearling, WVS decided to keep Lap for their racing program.

Lap ran six times with three wins for WVS before being claimed away in June 2022. At the end of July she raced in a $6,500 claiming race at Monmouth Park. WVS dropped a claim on Lap to retire her, but there was a two-way shake and another owner got her. However, WVS reached out to the new owner, who was more than glad to sell her to them for her claiming price.

Lap of Luxury’s retirement was our second private purchase. Due to the larger pricetag, TK and Michele Kuegler made a generous donation to The Horse Fund to assist with the purchase.

After a few day stay back in the barn of Jesse Cruz, Lap moved to Maryland to start her transition to off-track life with Nicole Martin. Nicole will give Lap time to unwind before preparing her for her forever home and second career.

We look forward to sharing many wonderful updates on Lap of Luxury.

To make a donation in support of our aftercare mission, please click here.

Today marks a pivotal day for The Horse Fund. Since our formation in April 2021, our goal has been to assist in the safe and secure retirement of thoroughbreds who have run for Wasabi Ventures Stables (WVS). In the past fifteen months, we have assisted in the retirement of a number of horses by making financial contributions. However, all of those retirees were still owned by WVS. Today we have made our first purchase of a former WVS horse, Mission Trail, who now is headed to retirement. 

Getting the horse

This four year old filly, Mission Trail, was claimed away from WVS in August 2021. As we do with all WVS horses, we have tracked her works, entries, and results. In the past few months it has seemed that Mission Trail has been less interested in being a racehorse. This week we presented an offer to her trainer, John McAllen, who accepted. 

With a purchase agreement in place, we planned to work with Second Call Thoroughbred Adoption and Placement for Mission Trail’s transition to post-racing life. However, before we began the paperwork for Mission Trail’s placement at Second Call, we were introduced to her breeders.

Making a plan for Mission Trail

George and Margaret Schwartz have been involved with thoroughbred racing for forty years. Their breeding program has produced not only Mission Trail, but also her dam, second dam, and third dam. With these deep family ties, they were interested in assisting in her transition to off-track life. Mission Trail will be moving to their farm in the next few days.

We have many people to thank for helping us achieve this milestone:

  • our community of supporters, who donate generously in actions and financial contributions
  • Mission Trail’s trainer, who agreed to collaborate with us on this purchase 
  • WVS assistant trainer, Grace Smith, who arranged for Mission Trail’s movement from racetrack to farm, as well as introducing us to the Schwartzes
  • the Schwartzes, who are bringing Mission Trail back to the farm on which she was born 

We are proud of what we have accomplished in the time since our inception and look forward to many more happily ever after stories for these wonderful horses.

Janealee was added to the barns of Wasabi Ventures Stables in February 2018. After four races in their silks, including one win, it was decided that it would be best for her to retire. Her first post-racing career was being a broodmare. Her first foal, a colt named No Me Digas, is a three year old running in the Mid-Atlantic region.

After her second foal was stillborn, Janealee found a new home with Christine, where she has taken a new career. From Christine:

Janealee is doing great. One of my best friends is currently riding and training her to most likely foxhunt. She loves it and is doing great. We also may breed her again at some point. As her foals have been so nice, and she definitely throws her personality.

We look forward to seeing photos of Janealee foxhunting and will share them with all.

To read updates on other retired WVS horses, please click here.

Feel Proud was an early member of Wasabi Ventures Stables. He ran for WVS through 2017 and 2018. At the end of 2018 it was decided that it was time for him to retire. He went to MidAtlantic Horse Rescue (MAHR) via Beyond the Wire.

Shortly after his arrival there, it seemed that he was track sore. Unfortunately, after many rounds of diagnostics it was determined that he had EPM. Over the next year he was treated with three rounds of medications. While he did improve, the most he would be able to do was walk or trot.

With this diagnosis and outlook, Feel Proud was categorized as a pasture pet. Add to this the arrival of Covid, and it seemed Feel Proud might be at MAHR for quite some time. Then in the spring of 2021 he had a potential owner and new home. He was going to move to South Carolina. However, before the move could happen, his new owner was seriously injured and had to cancel his adoption.

Maybe all of these things happened for a reason. Long time MAHR volunteer, Liz, was moving to a farm in North Carolina in mid-2022. Although she fell in love with many horses during her time there, Feel Proud was special. After months (years?) of pampering him at MAHR, she decided to bring him, now known as Felix, to her new farm. To keep him company she also adopted Completed Pass, now known as Wyatt.

Together, Felix and Wyatt are enjoying happily ever at their new home. Not only do they have an amazing new friend in Liz, they also get the companionship of one another.

To read more retired racehorse updates, please click here.

This past weekend was Threeninetytwo’s first horse show where he completely rocked!

We did a starter combined test, and from the moment he stepped off the trailer he was pure class. Warmup was a little chaotic, but he was oblivious. Threeninetytwo kept a level head and did what we have been working on at the event as well as he does at home. I credit his excellent career as a racehorse for the workman-like way he approached the show. I’m so thankful he had such a great start.

Everyone who saw him loved him and had nice things to say about him. He put in a really solid dressage test and jumped all his little jumps clean and confident to finish fourth in a big class. He happily wore his ribbon around and came home feeling like a 5-star horse!

We are aiming for a beginner novice combined test in a few weeks before he gets some downtime through the summer. We absolutely adore him and can’t wait to see what his future brings!

Many thanks to Threeninetytwo’s owner, Katie, for this terrific update on his first horse show!

To read a previous update on Threeninetytwo, please click here. To see more photos of him, go to his Facebook album.

Last week I shared an interview with the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program. One of the questions I always ask is for the organization to share a story about a horse. Their story was so remarkable, I deemed it worthy of it own post. Without any more delay, here’s the story of Bella.

Tooralaurabella’s arrival

Tooralaurabella was brought to us in June 2021 with a bowed tendon that we thought had set, making her ready to start her next career.  Upon her arrival we were told that she did not load well and needed to be blindfolded and pushed on backwards. She arrived at the adoption barn facing backwards in the trailer. Bella instantly proved herself to be a sweetheart but had some trust issues. She did not like the halter to be pushed over her ears and preferred it to be unbuckled, she was spooky and unsure of new things. We found her an older mare as a buddy in turnout, which helped her learn to settle and not be so reactive. 

In October we had a case of strangles break out (the first and only since opening in 2006). Bella was the only one to have the true and full symptoms and needed medical care. We had to soak the abscess on her jaw with a warm compress twice a day as well as give her meds orally. She had to have her temp taken twice a day as well. It was through all this that Bella realized we were here to HELP her. She grew a very strong bond with us and started to relax more. After our quarantine was lifted, Bella was able to start back into her training program.

Training begins

She had her first ride here just a few weeks later. Bella began to build confidence in us and herself with obstacles. She could push the ball, walk over a tarp and even in and out of a kiddie pool. This was all in preparation to get her to load on a trailer in a relaxed and confident demeanor. In a month’s time Bella was walking quietly across the wooden bridge on her own. By January 2022 we were able to use the program director’s trailer and practice our loading. Bella loaded right on in about 15 minutes with lots of patience and trust. It was then that we knew Bella was truly ready to find her forever home. 

Bella’s first potential adopter instantly fell in love after playing with her in our indoor arena over some obstacles and bonding scratches. It was a beautiful sight, and many happy tears were shed. The adopter had a pre-purchase vetting done to ensure the bow was set and would hold up for the career she had intended for Bella. It was then that we found out that the bow was not fully set. Bella was so strong and wanted nothing more than to please us, so she hid her injury. Not once did she take a bad step here, but through an ultrasound it was clear that the bow was not fully healed, and she had kept that from us all along. So unfortunately, that adopter decided it was not a good fit due to the injury but gave us full access to the images taken that day. 

A forever home and friend

Just a week later another potential adopter coming to look at a gelding but fell in love with Bella’s big, sweet face sticking out over her stall door. After playing with her in the arena lightly, they fell in love before even knowing her name. Later on, we found out that the name Bella had a huge meaning in the adopter’s life, and it was fate that they take TooralauraBella home. After discussing Bella’s injury and what rehab would entail, they decided to adopt Bella with no rush to become competitive any time soon. 

The day Bella finally loaded on her trailer to go to her new home was bittersweet. We were all so proud of this mare who had grown so much and matured with us in less than a year’s time. Bella is enjoying life with her forever family and two other FTLAP grads that share her large grass pasture. They have started lightly riding on the trails and will continue to slowly introduce her to more as she is comfortable.  

To learn more about FLTAP, please visit their website.

Where is Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP) based?

FLTAP is located on the grounds of Finger Lakes Racetrack in Farmington, New York. Finger Lakes Race Track is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Rochester, NY. We are the first and only Thoroughbred adoption program located on the grounds of a racetrack in North America.

How did your program begin?

Discussion between Finger Lakes horsemen and management led to a mutual desire to take a more active approach in providing owners and trainers with trusted resources in finding homes for those Thoroughbreds that had reached the end of their racing years. Those conversations led to the founding of a jointly funded formal program between track management and the Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association in 2006. In 2007, with the help of several others we were able to take the program further with the construction of a dedicated facility to assist in the placement of retired Thoroughbreds into new homes or careers.

Delaware North Companies, the parent company of Finger Lakes Gaming and Racetrack, donated the two acres of land on which the facility is located. The construction was made possible through $60,000 in state funding secured by New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, as well a grant from the American Humane Association. A significant amount of additional funding was generously provided by Wanda Polisseni, the principal of Purple Haze Stables, which led to the building being named the Purple Haze Center in her honor.

What makes FLTAP unique?

There are several unique things about Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, Inc. We are located on the grounds of a racetrack with a 16-stall barn, indoor training arena, and six paddocks.
Our Board of Directors consists of Finger Lakes Racetrack management personnel and Finger Lakes Horsemen and Horsewomen.
After an approved adopter has a Thoroughbred placed with them, we follow the progress of the horse and new owner for a year with 3, 6, and 12 month paper work and photos.
Even after the one year follow-up, we will take the horse back should circumstances change for the adopter and they can no longer take care of the horse or it turns out not to be the right fit.
Our barn is open to the public daily from 9 am to 3pm. Having an array of different ages visiting the barn assists the horse into acclimating to being around or experiencing different situations than they are accustomed to.
We have a full time trainer, who works with the horses and evaluates their ability to go on to a second career or a pasture mate.
FLTAP has volunteers who have been with us for more than 10 years.
We offer a unique experience for college students. Finger Lakes racetrack personnel will spend 3 – 4 days with the student in various operational areas, i.e. – the racing office, the stewards, announcer, placing judges and accounting. This gives the student a well rounded look into careers in the racing industry.
Adopters have so enjoyed our service that even 10 years later we are still getting updates about the horse they adopted.

What happens when a horse is accepted into your program?

When a trainer or owner decides that their Thoroughbred is ready to retire, they will fill out a surrender form (basically turning the horse over to our program). There is a $300 placement fee. We will then give the horse two weeks to adjust to being a horse again and getting used to the barn, our workers and volunteers. New horses will be seen by our equine dentist.
After two weeks, our trainer/barn manager will start with groundwork and either Western or English riding. She will post pictures on our website or our Facebook page to alert potential adopters.

Do you work with other locations or farms in your program?

We have worked with the local humane society in the Rochester area – Lollipop Farm and have accepted transfers from other rescues over the years. Since adding a full time trainer to the program, we have a farther reach from just locally to nationwide.

Do you require new owners to do reporting?

Yes, new owners are required to submit paperwork every 3, 6, and 12 months with photos of the horse without a blanket. We stress that we are here to assist new owners as we want to make sure this adoption is the right fit for both horse and human.

How many horses have gone through your program?

We have assisted with the retirement of about 800 retired Thoroughbreds since our opening in 2006. 2021 was a record year for us with 54 adoptions.

How does FLTAP receive funding?

Our funding is unique in that the Finger Lakes Horsemen contribute $2.50 for every horse that starts at Finger Lakes Racetrack and Finger Lakes Racing Association, Inc. contributes $2.00 for every start.
We are accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and receive grant monies through that accreditation.
The Thoroughbred Charities of America grant and ASPCA grants are another funding source.
Donations from people around the state of New York and beyond are especially helpful throughout the year.

If people want to help your program, what can they do?

Donations of used tack/blankets, auction items, or monetary donations for hay, bedding, peppermints and dental/medical visits are always much appreciated. Visit our website, or send to our mailing address:

FLTAP
PO Box 25043
Farmington, NY 14425

To learn about other thoroughbred retirement programs, click here.

Sully, formerly known as Midnight Shine, has made his home with Madison since October 2019. We last shared an update for this former Wasabi Ventures Stables runner in September 2021. We are pleased to provide another update on this sweet boy.

Sully is doing great. He has not been to any shows recently, but Madison plans to enter him in some this spring. This eleven year old gelding has been working as a hunter/jumper.

In addition to work on his second career, he also has become quite the family horse. Madison’s five year old has even started showing him some interest. As you can see, Sully is enjoying working with his new family, no matter their age.

We couldn’t have hoped for a better home for Sully. As Madison notes, “He really is the best boy and we love him so much.” That is the perfect version of happily ever after for this retired racehorse.

Formerly known as My Pal Jerry, Jerry was retired from Wasabi Ventures Stables in October 2018. Shortly after that he found his home in South Carolina. Since then he has been loving life, working with his friend and owner, Heather.

More recently, Jerry has been working with a friend of Heather’s, as Heather has been dealing with two separate injuries, which have prevented her from riding.

Jerry has been working on his jumping skills, which he enjoys very much. This eight year old gelding really enjoys learning new skills and working with a trainer.

According to Heather, Jerry is an amazing horse, who is so very loved. The club members at WV Stables would agree. My Pal Jerry always was a favorite!

To read an update on Dill, another former WVS horse, please click here.

What does TROT stand for?

Commonly referred to as TROT, Thoroughbred Retirement of Tampa Inc is a Florida nonprofit organization and 501(c)(3) that specializes in Thoroughbred aftercare.

How did your program begin?

The organization started out as Thunder Bay Horse Rescue in September 2003. In 2009, the organization’s leadership changed. In May 2009, its legal name changed to what it is today. Since that time, TROT has taken in 58 thoroughbreds into its program and rehomed 46.

What makes TROT unique?

Unlike many OTTB groups, they don’t have their own facility. They currently board their horses at two separate locations. Four of the horses, lovingly called the Thoroughstangs, live as a herd on five acres with access to a pond. And right next door to that, their resident curmudgeon Pure Pulpit resides in a more traditional boarding setting, where he is in his stall during the day and turned out at night with the other boarded horses.

What happens when a horse is accepted into your program?

When a horse enters TROT’s program, its ownership is signed over to the organization. TROT then works with the former racing connections to complete the Sold As Retired From Racing form. That fully executed form is mailed to the Jockey Club along with the registration papers and four conformation photos. The Jockey Club logs this info into their database and returns the papers to TROT stamped RETIRED FROM RACING. Each horse is given time to just relax and be a horse. When the horse is ready to start training, it is continually evaluated and eventually becomes available for adoption.

What is the process for interested adopters?

People interested in adopting a retired racehorse complete an application. The team at TROT screens the potential adopter, facility, and references. Typically, they don’t adopt out to first time horse owners unless that person is working with a trainer. If the interested person meets their guidelines, TROT has the person meet the horse to see if it’s a good fit. Adopters sign a contract that includes reporting throughout the first year. (Many owners actually keep in contact with TROT for much longer.) The contract states that if they are going to change ownership of the horse, they have to let TROT know and share information on the new owner. The horse can come back to TROT, if needed.

How many horses do you currently have? 

TROT has five horses. Four of those horses are non-ridable and available for adoption as pasture pets. The fifth, Pure Pulpit, broke his left pastern in the field a little over one year after retiring from racing. He was successfully rehabbed but cannot be ridden. Pure Pulpit also has flare ups of lymphangitis that require specialized care. He is the organization’s only permanent resident.

How does TROT receive funding?

TROT receives funding through a number of sources. These include individual donors, grants, and support from Tampa Bay Downs. They also receive donations via Amazon Smile, Good Search (which uses your online searches to earn money for nonprofits), iGive (stores participate and donate), eBay for charity, PayPal Giving Fund, Network for Good (Facebook fundraisers), Benevity, and company matches. TROT has monthly informational tables at Tampa Bay Downs during the live racing meet. They have a selection of branded items available for minimum donations at these events.

Do you have a story about a horse that we can share with our readers?

Rojo

Veteran runner and fan favorite, El Grande Rojo, was retired to our program by his racing owners, Neil and Laura Barrish, the day after his final race in 2019, which also happened to be his 11th birthday. The Barrishes explored many options for his retirement and chose our organization based on our commitment to individualized care and passion to ensure the long-term care and safety of our program horses. 

After a seven-year racing career that included 18 wins in 84 starts (and $442,813 in earnings), it took some time for Rojo to adjust to life after racing. He had plenty of other OTTBs at the boarding facility to help acclimate and welcome him to his new life away from the racing world he thrived in and was accustomed to. We also gave him as much time as he needed. When we finally restarted him, we discovered that he loved a routine and loved to work. He eventually turned into a foster failure as our equine care manager Summer adopted him. He loves kids and now helps teach the next generation of equestrians.    

A little over a year after his adoption, he was diagnosed with EPM. Summer was devastated but was determined to get him healthy again. He was successfully treated (and will be monitored for the rest of his life). Now he’s back as a lesson horse and winning ribbons in the show ring doing everything from leadline classes with the tiny riders, as well as excelling in both the hunter and jumper ring with more experienced riders. Never ever underestimate those war horses! They have huge hearts and are worth their weight in gold.

If people want to help your program, what can they do?

As noted in the funding question above, there are many easy options for supporting TROT. Please scroll up to see how you can help. You can also visit their How You Can Help page on their website – https://www.tampatrot.org/how_you_can_help.html